I am starting remote tutoring this week, using an online whiteboard program such as Twiddla. I recently purchased a set of capacitive styluses to use with a Windows touchscreen tablet I own (currently running Windows 8 CP, but I'm not opposed to switching to Windows 7 for this).

The problem is that when using an online whiteboard program through any of the 3 major browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome), the touch is interpreted as a scroll action rather than as the mouse drag action that would allow me to draw. Instead of being able to write equations, I find myself simply dragging the contents of the window around.

Is there a way to cause the touch input to register in the same way that mouse input or a digitizer pen would?


In Windows 7:

  1. Type "Pen and Touch" into the Start box.
  2. Open the applet that comes up as the first result.
  3. On the "Panning" tab, uncheck "Turn on Single Finger Panning" and hit OK.

This will disable the scrolling behavior in Internet Explorer. Moving your fingers across the page will now cause text to be selected, just like if you'd dragged the mouse. I have not tested it in other browsers.

I cannot find this setting in Windows 8. If there's a way to do it, then it'd probably be in the registry. Touch is just too integral to that OS.

That having been said, I would highly recommend using an active digitizer instead, because it offers a far superior writing experience. Ancient Tablet PCs like the HP TC4200 or the Thinkpad X41t can now be had for less than $200 on eBay.

(In fact, Windows 8 logo requirements prohibit capacitive styluses from being bundled with systems. If a manufacturer advertises a stylus, it is required to be an active digitizer.)

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  • I feel a little silly that the word "panning" was likely what kept me from finding it. Thanks for the hint about the Windows 8 registry -- you're right, there doesn't seem to be an exposed UI to disable panning. For reference, the registry key is HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software -> Microsoft -> Wisp -> Touch -> PanningDisabled which should be set to 1. Once this is set, Chrome and Firefox will allow me to draw correctly using a capacitive stylus. Interestingly enough, IE and the rest of the system still pan normally, which I suppose is actually even better for my case. – Greg Jackson Apr 15 '12 at 7:08
  • Also, thanks for the extra info on logo requirements. I plan on getting a Win8 tablet when they start coming out, so I'll make sure to look for that. I realize that an active digitizer is best for my use case, but with what I've got, I have to choose between a capacitive stylus and an old Wacom Graphire that I happen to have lying around (which I used for my first tutoring session, and it's also a pain to write with). – Greg Jackson Apr 15 '12 at 7:14
  • Glad to be of help. And good to see that you've tracked down the regkey. It's interesting that the setting has no effect on IE10 in Win8 -- it's probably a side effect from rewriting the touch handler for Metro/WinRT. – taoyue Apr 15 '12 at 19:27

In Firefox, goto "about:config"

Then search for "gestures.enable_single_finger_input". Change value to "false"

This will allow you to draw within your drawing area without your actions interpreted as scrolling.

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